Ancient Mounds of Watson Brake: Oldest Earthworks in North America

Ancient Mounds of Watson Brake: Oldest Earthworks in North America

by Elizabeth Moore, Alice Couvillon, Rick Anderson
     
 

"Watson Brake is a special place in Louisiana history. . . . The efforts of Reca Jones to document and understand the mounds is an exciting story."
-Dr. Charles "Chip" McGimsey, Louisiana State archaeologist

As archaeologist Reca Jones cooks with her grandchildren, the blocks of fudge they make remind her of the clay she discovered at the mounds of Watson

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Overview

"Watson Brake is a special place in Louisiana history. . . . The efforts of Reca Jones to document and understand the mounds is an exciting story."
-Dr. Charles "Chip" McGimsey, Louisiana State archaeologist

As archaeologist Reca Jones cooks with her grandchildren, the blocks of fudge they make remind her of the clay she discovered at the mounds of Watson Brake near West Monroe, Louisiana. The inquisitive kids ask their grandmother many questions, and she explains the significance of the mysterious mounds, and then takes them to the site. To the children's astonishment, Reca reveals such artifacts as spear points, fishhooks, beads, and bones from the animals eaten by dwellers long ago. Each relic is a clue to the puzzling origin of an archeological site older than the pyramids of Egypt.

Detailed illustrations provide an accurate depiction of the mounds at Watson Brake, which form an oval-shaped ring around an area the size of three football fields. Although no human bones have been found at the site, some archaeologists speculate that the mounds were built for religious ceremonies or even flood protection. A brief biography of the real Reca Jones completes this unique and fascinating story.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Alice Couvillon and Elizabeth Moore are the authors Mimi's First Mardi Gras, Mimi and Jean-Paul's Cajun Mardi Gras, Louisiana Indian Tales, and Evangeline for Children, all published by Pelican. They were raised in Louisiana, which serves as the inspiration for their children's books. They graduated from Newcomb College, and Couvillon later earned a master of arts in teaching degree from Tulane University. The authors reside in Covington, Louisiana.

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR
Award-winning illustrator Rick Anderson is also the illustrator of Pelican's Racecar Driver's Night Before Christmas and Christmas Stories from the South's Best Writers. He frequently speaks at children's book festivals and conducts such workshops as "The Positive Role the Arts Play in No Child Left Behind." After receiving a degree in art education from Delta State University, Anderson taught the subject for twenty-five years. He resides in Clinton, Mississippi.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—Reca Jones is a real person, and this story is hung on the fictional framework of her grandchildren's visit to Watson Brake, LA. Moore recounts the woman's personal history with this prehistoric oval of man-built mounds strung together with raised ridges. An amateur archaeologist, Jones was the first to recognize these early earthworks for what they were, a decision approved relatively recently by American archaeological experts. The artwork is colorful but the people are awkwardly rendered as Anderson depicts Jones showing her grandchildren artifacts found at the site and speculates on the lives and technologies of those who created the mounds. There is no map to pinpoint the Brake's location, and no photos of the actual site (despite a heavy overgrowth of vegetation, there are photos to be found on the Internet). Also sorely lacking is a diagram to allow clear visualization of this complex that predates the more spectacular pyramids of Egypt. An author's note gives additional information on Jones and the Brake, but the lack of maps, photos and diagrams, or websites leaves this interesting topic more useful to history classes in Louisiana than to the broader audience it might have commanded.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY creamy

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781589806566
Publisher:
Pelican Publishing Company, Incorporated
Publication date:
04/19/2010
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.70(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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